Starting on the Garage
Then on to the House
Taking Down the South Side
Last Wall (north side)
Last of the House
Where the House Used to Be
Flashback (This is a long one)
April 1st came as a beautiful, warm sunny day. And it also happened to be April Fool's Day.The bucket, with its long reach on the excavator, has thousands of pounds of pressure can easily take down walls and chimney's. It was the perfect equipment for the job and was on site and ready to go. Lou, the excavator operator did a last walk through the house with me and we talked about different things to watch for. We also walked around the perimeter of the house and I knew Lou was mapping out his steps as he was looking at everything. He had also been at the house a few days prior doing the same thing so I knew he already had a good plan formulated and he was just double checking everything.
Once outside and he had the equipment warmed up and positioned with bucket over the garage, he called Abby over and asked her to sit in the seat. As he stood next to Abby he told her which lever to move in order to move the bucket. (She didn't know that I had set this up earlier). I wanted her to take the first bite at the house. She easily moved the bucket down into and through the roof of the garage. The garage groaned and moved a bit but there was now a large hole in the roof. The demolition had begun. After that Abby jumped down with a big excited smile. She admitted that she had been a little nervous but I thought she did just fine (and I was a bit jealous).
After that first bite, things moved along quickly. Lou made short work of the garage and I helped pulling metal out of the piles of rubble. The idea was to put all of the metal in a pile for transport to a recycling place. As he reduced the garage to rubble he would break the debris up into smaller pieces. It was interesting to watch him work as he has years of experience and is truly an expert. I watched him maneuver the massive teeth of the bucket to grasp the edge of the metal gutter and pull it off of the garage. Think about it. He was about 20 feet away and was able to grab the gutter, which is all of six inches wide, and pull it away. Only an expert could do that.
Once the garage was down, he started on the back of the house and worked his way around so that he could push the chimney over, away from my neighbor's house. I spent the day helping where I could but mostly staying out of the way and taking pictures. By the end of the day, the house was down to the first floor with what was once standing now a big pile of rubble.
We had a large group of people stop by during the day watching and taking pictures. A couple of the folks mentioned to me they were wondering when somebody was going to do something with the house after it had been sitting there so long. A few others mentioned that they had looked at buying it and decided immediately that it needed too much work (that decision took us a bit longer). There was a great deal of interest and I was able to meet a lot of my neighbors for what I think must have been about a mile around. And they were all great and welcoming (we were a little nervous about that) and excited about us building a new house on such a great lot. Whew.
By the end of the third day, the foundation hole was filled in, the debris was completely removed, the yard was all torn up but we were now ready for the next phase.
I would be lying if I said we weren’t sad about having to take down the house. We had spent so much time in the old house planning, measuring, walking from room to room and talking about our different ideas. We had hoped to make it work, but in the end, even after spending a huge amount of money and time, it still wasn’t going to be the house that we really wanted or needed. So that was it, after standing for 80 years, it was now time to move on and build a new house on the lot.
The house that was ours.